Opinião Pública – Vol. 20, Nº 1 2014
Articles in this issue
In this paper we investigate the patterns of electoral volatility, at the individual level, in the 2010 Brazilian presidential elections. We explain variation in vote intention before the first round between candidates José Serra, Marina Silva, and Dilma Rousseff. A special emphasis is given to the effects of perceptions of corruption and abortion, two hot campaign issues, to explain the final result of the first round. The analysis is based on the first Brazilian Electoral Panel Study (BEPS), which has three waves of interviews with the same nationally representative sample, allowing for measures of how voters changed their minds during the electoral campaign. Results indicate that perceptions about corruption, primed by the eruption of corruption scandals, more than the debate on abortion, stimulated a loss of votes for Dilma Rousseff.
One of the main themes in democratic theory is the process through which citizens control the activity of its representatives. In this paper we analyze the Brazilian political system in general terms and the 1998 and 2006 election in particular in order to argue that the processes of vertical accountability in the electoral gaps empower citizens in the sense of punishing and rewarding their representatives in the electoral moment. The importance of this work is guaranteed by the political context experienced by the country in the last couple of years before the 2006 election. A significant number of politicians had been involved in corruption scandals that resounded in the Brazilian society in a very negative way. Despite of the costs of information, limited time to be concerned with politics, and the huge social inequality allied to poverty, we show that voters have been able to punish those that had been involved in scandals.
The purpose of this article is to analyze political professionalization and its effects in four Brazilian parties - Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (PMDB), Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) and Democratas (DEM). Data used in the article come from a survey with 120 candidates to federal deputy equally distributed among the four parties. An index for political professionalization was created from a conceptual definition. As a result, it was found that there are less "professional politicians" and more "occasional politicians" among the candidates of the four parties in 2010 elections. The trend is more pronounced among the center-right candidates. Professional politicians and occasional politicians have different perceptions about the aspects that matter for defining the composition of the list and the chances of electoral success.
This article investigates the performance of the Brazilian Senate in light of the current bicameral structure. Since the Senate is almost always a reviewing body, and since amendments are an objective indicator of its role in revision, the article analyzes the variables which influence senators to amend the projects which are reviewed. It is assumed that the senators are not merely “rubber-stamping” projects, nor are they recalcitrant about using their veto powers. The general hypothesis is that the senators’ choices depend on variables such as the bicameral configuration of representation, the position of the House in the decision-making process, and the origin of the legislation. Along general lines, it was noted that bicameralism in Brazil minimizes the chances of conflict in the Senate; however, it was noted that certain variations in the composition of coalitions and in the degree of bicameral divergence of party forces accentuate senators’ willingness to amend the projects that come before the House.
Brazilian redemocratization has profoundly transformed the relations between State and society and the marriage between democracy and representation. The changes were not restricted to electoral and state representation, but reached civil society’s spheres of action. The direct incorporation of citizens into policymaking processes is one of the most significant innovations of democratization in Brazil. This article argues that the new institutional architecture that expands the connections between State and society inaugurates a new moment of political representation in the country. Here, social actors represent along with government agents the interests of society in relation to certain types of public policy, without being incorporated by the state, and vice versa. In order to understand the democratizing potentials of these transformations, this paper proposes, based on international debates, a reinterpretation of the concept of political representation, as well as its criteria of legitimacy, namely, accountability and responsiveness. In addition, the paper highlights the specificities of representation in Brazilian participatory institutions. It argues that its institutional placement and intersection with state and societal arenas are characteristics that influence the practice of accountability and responsiveness.
The article presents a response to the text “Critical theory and deliberative democracy” by Ricardo Mendonça Fabrino (Opinião Pública, vol. 19, n° 1). Instead of analyzing the fidelity of current democratic-deliberative theories to the legacy of the Frankfurt School, it seeks to understand how much they retain from their original emancipatory impulse. The assessment is that the deliberative theory is tied to a trade-off between an abstract normativeness, incapable of effective intervention in reality, and the accommodation with the institutions and practices of really existing liberal democracies.
This article examines the gender subtext underlying the political judgment that recently took Fernando Lugo of Paraguay's presidency. It departs from the original notion of countermovement and it is inspired by feminist critics of public- private dichotomy. After presenting the immediate reactions to the dismissal of Lugo, the article discusses the political usages of presidential paternity cases, and the performance of 'pro-life' groups of 'Queremos papá y mamá' countermovement. The analysis of these cases shows the relationship between patterns of gender and religious values. In a moral vein, this relationship shapes Lugo's 'poor performance' and completed the trial of former Paraguayan president. At the end, it is suggested the entry of both, the movement/ countermovement dynamics and the religious conservative actors in the social movements analysis.